As happens with all blogs that I involve myself with, I fall behind… way behind. So although I started writing this quite a while ago (september 16th they tell me), I will finally finish it now.
It was my first week of real class. I had more or less made some course choices (mostly around scheduling availabilities) and found myself in a more comfortable situation after a LONG day of studio (9am-6:30pm no joke): the dark lecture hall.
The course was “Methodologie des Structures” (same in English) and was set up like an architectural history class ‘cept it was all about the engineering side of things. At this point, I’ve actually already finished the course and taken the final (more on that later). In his opening spiel however, my professor started describing a project he had worked on when he was just starting out as an engineer, you know, something small, unheard of… like I.M Pei’s addition to the Louvre.
I think I can pretty safely say that most professionals in the field of architecture would agree that Mr. Pei’s intervention was successful. At the very least, I’ll put my neck out there and say that it rocks. Anyway, I was entranced with his description of the structural system that held together the delicate pyramids of glass. The smaller inverted pyramid proved to be the most interesting, and apparently is even an example of failed maintenance despite it’s distinguished status.
The best came after class though. Tired from a long 12 hour day of courses, I got on my bus, Bus 68 that quite conveniently goes from right in front of ESA to a couple hundred meters away from my apartment, and began my pleasant, yet lengthy, journey home. About halfway back, having just crossed the Seine, I found myself a pane of glass away from 673 very famous panes of glass. The glass pyramids that had just dazzled me from the projector were right in front of my very eyes. Writing this now, after having become a little more accustomed to the splendors of Paris (and the route of Bus 68) it seems almost silly, but I was bewitched that night. They shimmered and sparkled in the fading light, an unearthly sight. The next day I decided to take my time and walked home following bus 68’s route, through the Latin quarter, across le Pont des Arts (a ped bridge, the bus crosses either Carrousel or Royal), through the Louvre courtyards (where I snapped the above photo) and back up l’Avenue de l’Opera past Garnier’s masterpiece to home.
I won’t lie to you and say that Paris is a perfect city or that my time here has been spent primarily sitting in cafes sipping cafe and looking fabulous, but I will say that it does have a little ‘je ne sais quoi’. Also, although not surprisingly, it’s an excellent city for studying architecture, historic and contemporary. It’s hard to complain when you see all these masterpieces on the bus ride home.